Borders tears down walls.

Borders, the bookstore, revealed plans this week for new concept stores which allow shoppers to mix/burn CDs, map their genealogy, and publish their own novels.  The retailer has plans to open 14 of these stores in 2008 with more in the future, hoping to bridge the gap with industry leader Barnes & Noble.

The stores will feature digital centers for music purchases, genealogy searches through partner Ancestry.com,  or access self-publishing upstart Lulu.com.  Customers may also print their pictures with the “Borders Digital Photo Printing” system.

“If you don’t have something you do better than the other guys, then frankly the customer doesn’t really need you,” Jones said. “This is really intermingling the typical bricks and mortar with the Internet and digital worlds.”

Although 14 stores will not drive the bottom line, Borders chief George Jones explains “It isn’t a matter of taking best-selling fiction and trying to price it lower than the next guy.  [Borders is creating] a headquarters where people come for knowledge and entertainment.”

What are we doing to provide our target audience with content on demand and more touch points with our talent?

Jones lays it out simply, “If you don’t have something you do better than the other guys, then frankly the customer doesn’t really need you.”  His concept combines typical bricks and mortar retail with the Internet and digital worlds.  Our challenge to do find ways to do the same thing with our brands.

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